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Presentation 3: Myths and reality B. Gindis Ph.D.

Typical misconceptions about internationally adopted children among school professionals

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) program should be the same for internationally adopted children and children from immigrant families;
  • Bilingual education is beneficial for adoptees;
  • International adoptees should be placed in classrooms according to their age as it is routinely done with other newcomers in a school district.

In reality, most of international adoptees are not bilingual; bilingual education may not be appropriate for them; ESL curriculum should be modified for them. Their school placement depends on their actual readiness to benefit from a certain level of instructions.

  • Any learning difficulties of international adoptees are due to their detrimental past of social/cultural deprivation and educational neglect. Therefore these children need to experience "normal" life for some time before any assessment for educational handicapping conditions may take place.
  • International adoptees may not be eligible for special education services because of language and cultural issues involved.

In reality "wait-and-see" position may lead to actual continuation of the same educational neglect that former orphans had been exposed to in their motherlands. We cannot afford to lose time in remediation of these children; their learning needs may go well beyond the issue of acculturation and new language acquisition.

  • We cannot test these children because they do not know enough English.
  • We can use a community volunteer to act as a translator for speech and language evaluation of a newly arrived child.

In reality there are ways and means of assessing your child's educational needs through his/her native language. That is what the federal law stipulates.

To use a non-qualified personnel in assessment (or assisting assessment) is a violation of federal and state laws.

Psychological issues of older internationally adopted children: courses and publications
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